Meeting the Best of SoCal on a Bike

Image by Emanuel Hahn (link to http://www.emanuelhahn.com/blog/)

Image by Emanuel Hahn (www.emanuelhahn.com/blog)

Whether you’re planning to bike your weekend away to shrink that waistline or in the mood to get a huge dose of the California sunshine you missed from working within your cubicle for the past five days, the roads of Southern California is a great place to start. It’s not exactly renowned for being a city that loves its cyclists but it is trying and improving. More roads are gradually being modified to cater to you bike enthusiasts, earth advocates, health aficionados and hobbyists.

One of the most endearing features of this city is that no matter how busy it is, it is neighbors with the Pacific Ocean. Now this might be reason enough for you to grab your bike and check out the California coast but do you know where to start?

Image by Gregg Borodaty (link to http://greggborodaty.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Mile-Marker-Zero.jpg)

Image by Gregg Borodaty (www.greggborodaty.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Mile-Marker-Zero.jpg)

The Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail, known as The Strand or the South Bay Bike Path among locals, would be a great option to get going. Taking this multiuse recreational road would mean biking along SoCal’s shoreline along its very own paved bike path. You will pass through a 22-mile stretch of the Pacific Ocean shoreline in the Playa del Rey area, starting from the Will Rogers State Beach through the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, ending in the Torrence County Beach. This trail highlights a laidback cruise that will let you immerse in the ultimate beach experience. Cycle through the beautiful beaches, popular surf breaks, volleyball games, million dollar mansions and the carefree California beach crowds in the beloved Santa Monica Pier, Hermosa Beach, Marina del Rey, Venice Beach and other well-known spots.

image from: http://www.shedreamsofalpine.com/blog/2015/7/9/the-marvin-braude-bike-trail-coastal-bike-ride-la-county

image from: www.shedreamsofalpine.com/blog/2015/7/9/the-marvin-braude-bike-trail-coastal-bike-ride-la-county

Others may warn you against taking on this challenge, it will take a good 4 to 5 hours for you finish the whole stretch. But it’s not a race, and you do not have to finish the whole thing. If you have time to spare, this trail should be an adventure where the aim is to enjoy SoCal’s beach culture. They may warn you of how busy the trail is with locals and tourists, but this is exactly why you should go. Unless you’re getting on your bike purely for exercise, you will surely enjoy being among the buzzing crowd enjoying all kinds of beach pursuits. Look forward to seeing volleyball players, surfers, skateboarders, body builders, yachts and their owners’ huge and beautiful houses, bikini girls, beach bummers, street performers, hippies, stoners – you name it! To top it all off, magnificent views of the ocean should seal the deal for you.

image from: http://www.justgoplacesblog.com/15-things-to-do-on-the-venice-beach-boardwalk/

image from: www.justgoplacesblog.com/15-things-to-do-on-the-venice-beach-boardwalk

If you don’t have a bike, there’s no need to worry. There are tons of bike rental places along the trail – along with lots of sites to pick up something to drink and eat in case you need to refuel. The path is mostly flat but is bumpy along a few parts and if you are not big on maps, the clear-signed trail will help you out just fine. It is best if you start out early as the California sun could get really hot, especially in the summer.

After finishing the 22 miles, know that you deserve a pat on the back or an enormous fist bump. You just finished biking through the most iconic places in Southern California!

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

Biking through the Mount Vernon Trail

Photograph by Flickr user Leo Boudreau

Photograph by Flickr user Leo Boudreau

Washington D.C. is home to many of the country’s iconic monuments, best museums and, of course, the halls and corridors of the most powerful people of the United States. Every day, employees and tourists alike flock to the nation’s capital, making it hard to miss how busy the D.C. area is. In fact, many studies show that Washington D.C. has the country’s worst traffic and that it will not get any better in the next 30 years.

With this, many commuters will agree that the best way to go around the city is on the two-wheeled, self-propelled bicycle. Whether you’ll opt for a route which will bring you to the metro for a full-on city experience or a more serene track where you can get away from all the noise and stress, the D.C. area boasts plenty of trails for your ride.

One of the most popular bike routes is the Mount Vernon Trail (MVT). This one makes for an incredible dayride and is a favorite of cyclists, runners, roller-bladers and strolling families, which is unsurprisings because of the amazing views that the trail offers. If you want to experience the MVT, it’s best to take a bike which will allow you to cover more ground. This 18-mile stretch rolls parallel both to the western banks of the Potomac River and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, from Theodore Roosevelt Island Park down past Alexandria to the former home of George Washington in Mt. Vernon. In between are the scenic views of the D.C. skyline, its monuments, the water and lush foliage.

Biking through the Mount Vernon Trail

image from: www.got2run4me.com/2013/08/02/where-i-run-mount-vernon-trail

Among the few spots to look out for is Gravelly Point, just north of the Reagan National Airport area – where you can take a break and watch the planes fly right above you and, of course, you can check out the estate of the first president, George Washington, at the end of the trail. They say this is the trail that George Washington took every day from his home to work when he was president. Other points of interest are Old Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall and other parks and wildlife preserves along the way. The 91-acre wilderness is also rich in flora and fauna which you might enjoy.

The terrain is well-maintained and it is generally flat, so beginners won’t find it too taxing. It is near the end where you might break a bit of a sweat since it’s here where you will begin a steep climb to the estate grounds. There are a few parts that are winding and narrow where bikers will have to take caution and even dismount entirely. The MVT also connects with many regional trails including Rock Creek Park, Four Mile Run, Potomac Heritage and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail.

Being popular, this trail gets crowded at times so if you want to avoid sharing, consider going out on weekdays and early in the morning. You will have to pass through neighborhoods, too, but the signs are clearly marked so it’s not much of an issue. It is dotted with plenty of drinking fountains and there are spots where you can stop and dine. There are also a number of parking areas but they could get busy on weekends. It is open year-round from 6 am to 10 pm.

 Image by Bernadette N (link to http://stuffigot.blogspot.com/2015/06/gravelly-point-park-arlington-va.html)

Image by Bernadette N
(www.stuffigot.blogspot.com/2015/06/gravelly-point-park-arlington-va.html)

If you’re not in the mood to finish the whole stretch, you can always take advantage of the segments that you prefer. No matter the distance, with the views you’ll get to see on this trail, you can’t help but smile, and even gawk, but watch out for the bugs that might get inside your mouth! Pedal on!

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

image from: http://got2run4me.com/2013/08/02/where-i-run-mount-vernon-trail/

image from: www.got2run4me.com/2013/08/02/where-i-run-mount-vernon-trail

Two-Wheel Touring: Biking in New York’s Central Park

Going around New York City on a bicycle might not seem like a great and entirely safe idea. Some cyclists even find it a bit tricky, considering the streets that never seem to run out of pedestrians and vehicles. Does that mean that you shouldn’t do it? Many New Yorkers who have traded in their cars for the eco-friendly two-wheeler might think otherwise.

cycling NYC

Image by Adele Peters (www.fastcoexist.com/3035580/new-york-citys-protected-bike-lanes-have-actually-sped-up-its-car-traffic)

This concrete jungle is turning more and more into a city of bikes. The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has been keeping track of the number of cyclists every year since 1984. Their data shows that in the past 10 years, between 2004 and 2014 (the last complete year in the dataset), the number of cyclists has tripled.

Whether it be the cause or the effect, New York has been adding more infrastructure for cyclists such as protected bike lines, bike racks and specialized signs and traffic signals. And you may have noticed those blue bikes scattered around the city, thanks to Citi Bike’s clever bike sharing scheme. No wonder The Big Apple has been named as one of the bike-friendly cities in the world.

With all the benefits attributed to city cycling – saving money, dropping the gym membership, saving the earth from carbon emissions, freeing yourself from the seemingly interminable parking problem – you may want to give it a go. In New York City, the Central Park loops would be a good place to start.

cycling

Image by Solo Traveler (www.solotravelerblog.com/solo-travel-destination-new-york-new-york)

At the heart of Manhattan, this 843 acres, containing meadows, outstanding wildlife, manicured gardens, lush lawns, serene forests, a lake and reservoir and downright interesting and curious people, has 3 routes to choose from – 6.1-miles, 5.2 miles or 1.7 miles. These routes offer terrain for every type of biker, from newbies to intermediate and advanced, with flat roads and hilly spots.

cycling Central Park

Sharing the road in Central Park Image by Suzanne DeChillo for the New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/nyregion/a-nervous-bikers-guide-to-cycling-in-new-york-city.html?_r=0)

You can bring your own bike or if you’re just visiting and do not have your own ride, there are plenty of stations where you can rent a bike, whether for an hour or the whole day. Also, bike tours are offered by the park where an expert can guide you and show you the different landmarks and famous spots. Know that there are paths which have been declared totally car-free, where you don’t have to worry about cars sharing the road with you while some are only closed to vehicles at certain hours of the day.

new york city cycling

Image by Lucy Dodsworth (www.ontheluce.com/2013/10/14/visiting-new-york-on-a-budget)

There’s so much to see in Central Park. You might do double-takes at the street performers or lose your attention to eye-catching sceneries, remember to be careful and be on guard. There are still rules and safety precautions to keep in mind. Watch out for pedestrians – they always have the right of way. Wear a helmet. Earphones out. Ride in a counter-clockwise direction. Never ride on the sidewalk. Install a bell and both tail land head lights for night riding. Watch out for road signs.

Biking in New York need not be a terrifying experience as long as you know the places where you can safely ride, educate yourself on how to bike properly and follow the traffic rules. You may also find that Central Park is just one of the many places in New York you can explore on your two wheels. You might want to discover the others in the near future. Happy riding!

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

Cycling Through the Pacific Coast Highway

pacific coast

The Pacific Coast Highway Image by The Fest Blog (www.thefestblog.com/2012/12/wanderlust-pacific-coast-highway.html)

The world-famous Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the most popular roads in the country. It is not called Highway 1 for nothing. Passing along this 147-mile stretch of California coast would mean getting to see sceneries that would take your breath away. We’re talking rugged cliffs, magnificent ocean views, acres of orchards, lighthouses, pine forests, diverse wildlife and all things postcard-worthy.

What will also take your breath away is the challenge of cycling the whole stretch of Highway 1. 40 days of riding your bike, with nothing but a small bag for your supplies and your much needed determination and raw grit is no easy feat. You need to be fit enough to cover 40 to 50 miles a day, depending on how fast you go and the stops that you’d take.

hidden paradise

Hidden Paradise: McWay Falls Image by Andy Blake (www.tripque.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/hidden-paradise-mcway-falls)

This is a dream route for a lot of cyclists out there. If you’re one of them and you want to take on this cycling tour soon, prepare for both agony and ecstasy. Here are a few things to consider before you ride away:

1. PLANNING
A tour like this calls for a thorough plan. Before going, you will need to figure out daily distances, sites to stop for rest and refilling your supplies, the amount of food and water that you’ll be consuming, places to sleep and the necessary gear that you’ll need to bring. There are tons of advice available on the internet – from guesthouses, historic inns, motels, hotels and campsites to local spots where you can pick something to eat and drink. It will also be helpful if you look for information on which way to travel and why, as there will be instances when you can travel along the main highway or pick other known bike routes.

2. GEAR

You will need to have the right bike for a multiday tour like this. Dependable frames, such as those that are made of steel, will remain stable enough to carry you throughout your trip. Also, bike racks for your load will be seriously helpful. Check your tires. There are ones that are puncture-resistant to save you the trouble of getting flat tires. Remember that you’ll be on the road for more than a month. Go see a bike technician to make sure that your ride is as ready as you are!

cycling

Road-ready Image by Darby Roach (www.bikearoundtheworld.org/bike-around-the-world/pacific-coast-highway)

3. FOOD AND WATER

Estimating your food and water for this trip is also necessary. Your water bottle will be your best friend so make sure that it’ll store enough in between refills. This is a well-developed route so there are plenty of areas where you can refill along the way. You might also find electrolyte tablets helpful. They dissolve in water and will help minimize fatigue. For sustained energy, there are heaps of protein bars to choose from and packed sandwiches are good enough for lunch. If you prefer to dine pleasantly, there’s the option of stopping by the restaurants and diners along the road.

This might seem daunting but when you’re already there, taking in the beauty that surrounds you will bring you comfort. You might want to finish with the shortest time possible but you can always choose to take a slower pace and perhaps hop off your bike for a while to enjoy the sights and explore the other spots more. With your supplies all packed and your equipment ready, you’re all set for this big adventure.

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

big sur

Big Sur Image by The Portmanteau Press (www.theportmanteaupress.com/the-ultimate-american-road-trip)

 

Advantages of Internal Gears in Bicycles

Advantages of Internal Gears in BicyclesA hub gear, internal-gear hub, or simply gear hub is a gear ratio changing system regularly used on bicycles that are enforced with epicyclic or planetary gears. The gears and lubricants are closed within the shell of the hub gear. As compared to derailleur gears wherein the gears and mechanism are disclosed to the elements. Conventionally, changing the gear ratio was done by a shift lever. It is attached to the hub with a Bowden cable and twist-grip style shifters.

Typically, hub gear systems have a long and broadly maintenance-free life. On the other hand, some are not advisable for high-stress use. A few examples are during competitions or on hilly and/or off-road conditions. Countless commuters or urban cycles like European city bikes are now frequently equipped with 7-speed gear hubs and 8-speed systems. As a result, they are becoming more and more available. Elder or less costly utility bikes oftentimes use 3-speed gear hubs like bicycle sharing systems. A lot of folding bicycles nevertheless use 3-speed-gear hubs. Due to modern developments, up to 14 gear ratios are now available.

Now that we know how internal gears in bicycles work, here are a few advantages of using it:

1. Since hub gears are closed within the hub, it protects them from grit, impacts and water. Hence, they regularly require not a lot of maintenance. In addition, they can be more dependable over time compared to external derailleur gear systems. That is because they require more adjustments and part replacement.

2. Hub gears absolutely prevent from the danger of collision with the spokes and wheel-collapse. In comparison with the derailleur system, it can suffer.

3. When the rear wheel is not rotating, hub gears can alter gear ratios. This is most especially useful when commuter cycling with constant stops. Furthermore, for mountain biking in a rough terrain.

4. For inexperienced riders, hub gears are easier to use. Because generally, there is only one single shifter. Also, there are no other overlapping gear ratios. Derailleur systems on the other hand have two shifters. Consequently, it will need some mental preparedness to stay away from problematic gear combinations.

5. Although not all hub gears come with coaster brakes, some are manufactured with one. With derailleur systems, this is impossible because the chain cannot send a backwards pull.

6. Hub gears are meant for shifting gear ratios on drivetrains. Drivetrains are not compatible with external derailleurs like belt drives and shaft drives.

7. The single chainline lets on a full chain enclosure chain guard. Hence, the chain can be guarded from grit and water. Likewise, the clothing can be protected from getting in contact with the lubricated chain.

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

How to Gain Confidence on a Bicycle: For Big Cyclists

rich-3

photo source: http://www.bikeforums.net/

Cycling is just like driving. When you think negatively, most especially in times of difficult rides, it will more likely distress your confidence. In addition, it will avoid you from riding at your best. If you are moving up on a long and steep climb and all that negativity and anxiety come in, you might end up giving up. If this is continued, it might turn into bad habits that are tough to break.

In relation of bad habits to confidence are bad techniques to be habitual. The more you do the behavior over and over again, the more instilled it will become. Who wants to be better at being a pessimist? After all, it is not a good thing.

The good news however, negative thinking can be cured. As long as you have the awareness, the control and the repetition. The end-goal is to occupy oneself in confidence-building practice. As such, the new positive-thinking thoughts will be replaced by the negative thoughts.

Here are a few strategies to build cycling confidence when times get rough:

1. The Cyclist’s Recital of Items

These are certain remarks that will help you kiss negative thinking goodbye and boost your confidence in your skills in riding. Just like any other habits, the only way to correct the habit of negative thinking is to practice being positive.

This litany is indeed, a concept of repetition. As you continue repeating, you can retrain your brain to turn negative thoughts into positive.

Here are a few examples of “chants” that you can tell yourself:

a. I love to ride.
b. In everything I do, I promise to give my best efforts.
c. I will think and speak emphatically, whether I am on or off my bike.
d. Whenever I ride, I will focus on my efforts 100%.
e. I know I will succeed if I just focus on riding my best. It does not matter how fast I go.

2. Balance the negatives versus the positives

The next time you ride, keep track of the number of positive and negative thoughts you made. For the first few times, it is more likely that the negatives will exceed the positives.

But do not worry, just keep repeating your litany and increase the positives. And when this happens, reward yourself. Pump your fist and say something like, “Yes, I’ve finally done it”. It will help in pepping yourself up and feel more positive about your fulfillment.
In conclusion, teach your brain to be optimistic. The old saying is still applicable, “It’s all in the mind”.

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

How to Brake Efficiently: Front or Rear Brake or Both?

lift_rearBicycle have brakes to help the rider slow down or stop whenever necessary. They should not be something to be scared about or avoided.

Practicing to brake efficiently is essential for a more efficient and safer ride. Find a quiet place, pick up speed, then stop the bike using your brakes. Every time you do this notice how fast you can stop the bike and how long it takes you to completely stop. Notice if your tires are skidding and/or if you are loosing grip. Also notice if your tires are stopping the bike at all, if not you should visit a bike shop immediately.

A bicycle has two brakes and in order to stop safely,  you have to know how to use each of those brakes.

The common thought is to use both rear and front brakes at the same time. This is perhaps a good practice for novice cyclists, who have not yet learned how to skillfully use the brakes, but if you do not go past this practice, you won’t be able to stop as short and as safely as a rider who has learned to use just the front brake.

Squeezing on the front brake so hard is the fastest you can stop a typical bike. But this tends to lift the back wheel off the ground. In such scenario, the back wheel won’t help stop the because of the absence of traction.

Using the back brake is alright in cases where there if poor traction, or when the front wheel blows. But when you’re stopping on parched road, using just the front brake gives maximum stopping power. You’ll be a safer rider when you’ve learned to correctly use the front brake alone.

Many riders just don’t utilize the front brake because of the fear of going over their handlebars. In reality, this might occur, but primarily to those who does not know how to use the front brake correctly.

If you rely on your back brake for general stopping purposes, you could get by until an emergency happens, and in a panic mode, you might tend to grab that unfamiliar front brake and the back brake for added stopping power. This could result in the over-the-handlebars incident. Some people believe that this is caused not so much by applying on the brakes too hard, but by braking so hard without using the biker’s arms to brace against the stopping force. The bicycle comes to a stop, but the cyclist keeps going until his thighs bumps into his bars, and the bicycle, which is not supporting the rider’s weight anymore, jerks forward or flips over.

This could be avoided if you use just the back brake, because as soon as the back wheel starts to lift off the ground, the back wheel skids, restricting its braking force. But sadly, it requires two times as long to stop using just the back brake as with using just the front. So mainly relying on the back brake is not safe for those who ride fast. It is crucial to use the arms for bracing against the stopping force when braking hard, in order to avoid this situation. One effective strategy is moving back on the saddle as far as you can go, so the center of gravity is kept as far back as possible. This technique is applicable when you are using the back brake, the front brake, or both.

“Fishtailing” can happen when you use both brakes. If your back wheel skids while also using the front brake, the back part of the bicycle will swing past the front, since the front part is employing much more stopping power compared to the back part. When the back tire begins to skid, it tends to easily move sideways as forward.

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

Cycling Safety on Busy Streets: Tips for Big Riders

imagesAs much as possible, avoid riding along a busy street. But if you have to, there are some things you might want to consider for cycling safety.

Gear up for safety. Before going out on the road, you might want to check if you are properly equipped and that your bicycle is in good condition for the ride. Experts suggest that it would be advantageous if your bike has reflectors on the front and back. A bell or horn would also help alert pedestrians and other motorists. Tail lights and head lights also help keep you visible to other motorists during low-light or dark conditions.

Be alert. It is advisable that in order to keep yourself safe on the busy road, be alert of your surroundings at all times. It is not advisable that you listen from your headphones as this will make it difficult for you to hear approaching vehicles and pedestrians. You might want to watch out for parked cars. You don’t want the car door suddenly slamming into you. Ride at a distance farther from parked vehicles. Also, it is wise to keep your hands on the handle bars particularly near the brake levers ready to pull the bike to a quick stop to avoid possible collision with other vehicles or pedestrians.

Be predictable and visible. Ride in a straight line at a moderate pace that allows you to react to unexpected turns or stops of other vehicles near you. Riding in a predictable manner allows other motorists to go around you safely. Also, avoid staying on the blind spot of drivers when you are at a stop sign or during a red light.

Follow safe bike riding techniques. Experts advice that when going on a curb, stay at a comfortable distance from the edge of the pavement, instead of hugging the curb too closely. When riding through heavy or slow-moving traffic, it is advisable that you ride in the middle of the lane so that you will be visible to everyone. This will also prevent other vehicles to squeeze around you.

Signal properly. Know your hand signals when turning left that is extending the left arm out from the shoulders with your arm parallel to the ground. To turn right, extend your left arm out from the shoulder with your arm and elbow forming an “L” shape and the left hand pointing up. To slow down, extend the left arm as in the turning right position but with the hand pointing down.

These are some of the things you might want to consider when riding your bike on a busy street. Be safe.

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

Bike Fitting Tips for Big Cyclists: A Beginner’s Guide

bike fitOne of the keys of a cyclist’s efficiency in riding is a proper bike fit. Often, beginner cyclists commit the mistake of just buying a bike and getting on it. Later on, they find their bikes as a source of pain and discomfort thus, preventing them from cycling again.
If you want to be serious about cycling as your means of getting into shape or as form of recreation or sport, you might want to pay attention on getting a bike that fits you well allowing you comfort during your ride. The less strain and discomfort you feel while on the bike allows you to ride longer and more efficiently.

If you already have a bike though, you can get your bike adjusted to fit you right. You can ask the help of bike fitting shops or you can adjust the bike yourself by following these tips:

Level the seat. You can check if your seat is in a level position by placing your bike on a level surface. You can use a carpenter’s level and place it on top of the seat to check it. If you don’t have this tool you can get something horizontal that you can compare with the seat level. Some cyclists tilt the seat downward to ease pressure on sensitive areas but doing so would cause you to slide forward thus putting more pressure on your arms, hands, and knees which can be straining and may lead to injury. With a level seat, you can pedal more efficiently and move around on the seat much easier than when tilted. However, if you are more comfortable with a tilted seat, you may tip the seat no more than 3 degrees up or down.

Adjust the seat height. You can determine your seat height by pedaling your bike backwards and mark the position where your heels are on the pedals and your legs are extended completely at the bottom of the pedal strokes. If your hips are rocking while you pedal, it means that your seat height is too high.

Check the handlebar. For an optimum riding efficiency, you may want to check the height of your handlebar. If you experience soreness on your back and neck during or after rides, the bars may need to be adjusted. Also, you may want to check the handlebar reach. If the bar is too close or too far away, you might strain your shoulder, back, neck, and hands. Adjustments to the handlebars may mean replacements. You may consult experts from bike shops to help you.

Whether you are an average sized rider or a heavier one who wanted to try biking for recreational purposes, commuting, or losing weight, visit Zize Bikes for a line-up of custom made, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody  that can support ALL riders of ALL sizes (up to 550 pounds): www.zizebikes.com

Tips for Cycling on a Busy Road: Safety Guide for Big Riders

photo source: http://www.theguardian.com/

photo source: http://www.theguardian.com/

Even when you are properly geared up for safety with your helmet, reflectors, and pads it is not a guarantee that you will be safe on the road if you are not aware of traffic rules and road signs. It is also wise to hit the busy road only when you are already confident of your riding skills so you can focus more on the road and traffic rather than on how to ride your bike. However, when you are up and ready for it, you might want to remember some of these tips to keep you safe on the road.

Follow traffic. Although the bicycle has no motor, it is treated on the road like other vehicles. It would be safe for you to be in the same direction as the traffic . It is not safe for a biker to counter flow or ride in the opposite direction of the traffic. When available, stay on bike lanes or paths.

Obey traffic rules. Just like you would in a car, it is advisable that you also stop at a red light and follow traffic signs such as one-way streets, yield etc.

Be predictable. As much as possible, ride in a straight line so it is easier for cars to go around you.

Use eye contact and hand signals. Make eye contact with drivers when you are slowing down or when making a turn. Use proper hand signals with your left hand while your right hand stays on the handlebar for stability. You might want to remember the following hand signals.

• For turning left, the left arm is extended straight out from the side and is parallel to the ground.

• For turning right, the left arm is extended straight out from the shoulder with the elbow bent forming an L shape and the left hand is pointed straight up.

• For slowing down, do the opposite of the hand signal in turning right. The left arm is extended from the shoulder with the elbow bent forming an L shape. This time, the left hand is pointing downward.

Be alert. Be conscious of your surroundings so you can anticipate your movements. You might want to remember to glance in your mirror before approaching an intersection. Do not focus only on the vehicles in front of you but those at the back and those that surround you as well. Look behind you first before making a left turn.

Light up. Be visible to motorists. It wouldn’t hurt to wear something bright even during the day.

Remembering these tips can help you be safe on the road.

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